desdemona: a play about a handkerchief sparknotes

and she asks Emilia to bury her in these sheets should she die first. Unable to produce it, Desdemona can’t convince Othello that his suspicions are unfounded and thereby save her marriage. She is caught between her conscience and her responsibilities as both a wife and Desdemona’s attendant. The manner in which Desdemona is murdered—smothered by a pillow iii, and then almost immediately being put in the position of defending Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. The play, Desdemona sends for Cassio to tell him that she has spoken with Othello; she is also worried that she has lost her handkerchief. Iago, the antagonist of the play, interrupted the play by convincing Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful. of her first speech (“My noble father, / I do perceive here a divided Othello gives Desdemona handkerchief as a symbol of his love to her because his father had given the same handkerchief to his mother. The handkerchief, a gift to Desdemona from Othello, symbolizes so much more than a mere token of affection. demands. then, depicts Desdemona contradictorily as a self-effacing, faithful Othello asks point-blank if the handkerchief is lost. lines, Desdemona has seemed capable of meeting or even rising above those When Desdemona drops the handkerchief in Act III, Scene 3, she unknowingly signals the point of the play at which she begins to lose Othello to blind jealousy. is driven insane with jealousy. The handkerchief symbolizes different things to different characters. duty” [I.iii.179–180]) and her terse fury The first symbol of the handkerchief is Desdemona’s marital fidelity. Two little deceptions – Emilia's stealing of the handkerchief and Desdemona's lie to Othello that it is not lost – cement Desdemona's doom. He then asks her to lend him her handkerchief. DESDEMONA : Come, come; 90 : You'll never meet a more sufficient man. wife and as a bold, independent personality. Farewell. This is a trick to put me from my suit: Pray you, let Cassio be received again. To Othello, the handkerchief symbolizes fidelity and his giving it to Desdemona represents a promise that he will be true to her, and a request that she stay true to him. Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears Paperback $15.95. Desdemona is at times a submissive character, most notably As the clown departs, Desdemona wonders to Emilia where her handkerchief might be. The reluctantly loyal Emilia pesters Desdemona about a military promotion for her. In spite of the fact that Emilia was beforehand blamed for taking part in an extramarital affair with Othello, her activities all through the play depict a steadfast and legitimate lady. After handing over Desdemona’s handkerchief to Iago, Emilia explains that Desdemona will become extremely upset once she notices the object is missing, so unless the handkerchief serves some important purpose, she would like to return it to her mistress. To Othello, the handkerchief symbolizes fidelity and his giving it to Desdemona represents a promise that he will be true to her, and a request that she stay true to him. singing it. / . The handkerchief initially is a gift given to Desdemona by Othello as a love token. standing over her with murder in his eyes, she sings a song she Like the audience, Desdemona seems able only to watch as her husband . It helps weave the entire story together. Emilia explains why she feels lucky to have found Desdemona’s handkerchief: Her husband, Iago, has been pestering her to snatch it for some time, and although she doesn’t know why he wants it, she’s happy to finally do as he asks. in a bed covered in her wedding sheets—is symbolic: she is literally In vain, Desdemona tries to deflect his questions about the handkerchief, speaking again of Cassio. Desdemona insists to Emilia that Othello is not a jealous man. Order it now. Iago manipulates the handkerchief so that Othello comes to see it as a symbol of Desdemona herself—her faith and chastity. as stereotypically weak and submissive ignore the conviction and authority Desdemona orders the clown to find Cassio and bring him the message that she has made her suit to Othello. The handkerchief appears in Act III of the play and is a particularly important part in the plot of the play. In this scene, the handkerchief may represent Desdemona's desire to heal Othello of his distress. in her willingness to take credit for her own murder. as well. She makes a playful reference to Othello’s origins, suggesting that the sun in his native land made him impervious to jealousy, and therefore he is an exception to the typical Venetian tendency to be suspicious of women’s behavior. A beautiful, happy girl, she has rejected all Venetian suitors, but is conquered by Othello’s tales of his life, and absconds from her father’s her to elope with him. Othello to forgive Cassio. However, the heroine of Paula Vogel’s Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief is, to quote Britney Spears, not that innocent. so powerful. to Emilia’s question, “O, who hath done this deed?” Desdemona’s final lord. suffocated beneath the demands put on her fidelity. It helps weave the entire story together. Since her first Title of Work and its Form: Desdemona: a play about a handkerchief, play Author: Paula Vogel (on Twitter: @VogelPaula) Date of Work: 1993 Where the Work Can Be Found: The play was first produced in by Circle Repertory Company and featured the amazing Cherry Jones in the role of Bianca. 3) Why does Othello care about Desdemona... Othello first explains that he has a sentimental attachment to Desdemona’s handkerchief because it was the first gift he ever gave to Desdemona: “I gave her such a one; ’twas my first gift” (3.3). Morrison's play marks the third major play focusing on Shakespeare's Desdemona composed by a modern … The 2011 play arose from a collaboration between Morrison, director Peter Sellars, and musician Rokia Traoré, and revolves around Desdemona's relationship with the African nurse who raised her. / And did forsake her. words are, “Nobody, I myself. that she is “guiltless,” Desdemona also forgives her husband (V.ii.133). Desdemona is one of Shakespeare's most boring female leads. DESDEMONA : I say, it is not lost. Here, Othello explains to Desdemona the significance of the handkerchief: He was told the handkerchief is charmed, and that whoever possesses it will have a faithful spouse, but should the object get lost or be given away, the once loyal spouse would search for love outside of the marriage. For all the claims of military straightforwardness of some other characters, Desdemona is the most direct and honest speaker in the play. Othello gave it to Desdemona for the same reason, to represent her fidelity to Othello just as his mother did with his father. August 2, 2015 Harry. O, farewell” (V.ii.133–134). In the end, Othello stifles the speech that made Desdemona handkerchief may appear to be an insignificant object, but throughout the play the way its symbolic importance is revealed, shows that it is really very significant. Desdemona, A Play About a Handkerchief by Paula Vogel November 9 - 25, 2018 . Desdemona explains to Emilia how important her handkerchief is to her, and that while she feels Othello is too good a man to fall prey to a base emotion such as jealousy, she understands that her losing the gift that symbolizes his love might upset him. / Commend me to my kind OTHELLO : Fetch me the handkerchief: my mind misgives. Desdemona is young, sexual, and recently married. much criticism has given her credit for. In Paula Vogel’s bawdy, thunderingly ironic take on Othello, the bride of the Moor is everything Iago pretended she was.Well, worse, actually, Desdemona is a bored, promiscuous aristocrat who delights in talking like a fishwife and whiles away idle hours in Cyprus by substituting for the local prostitute. jesting with Iago in Act II, scene i, is either an interpolation . For those who, like the 17th century essayist quoted in the program of “Desdemona,” find Shakespeare’s “Tragedy of Othello” to be just so much sturm und drang about a handkerchief, Paula Vogel… Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. When Desdemona cannot produce the handkerchief he wants to see, Othello explains the handkerchiefs histo… Now the handkerchief symbolizes the health of the marriage as a whole, rather than just one partner’s loyalty. after Othello strikes her (“I have not deserved this” [IV.i.236]). / And she died Her forgiveness of Othello may help the audience to forgive him 22 reviews Having slept with Othello's entire encampment, Desdemona revels in her bawdy tales of conquest. not written by Shakespeare or a mere vulgarity ignore the fact that Desdemona hesitates, and then tells something of a lie. The Handkerchief. When Othello enters, he claims a headache and asks her for a handkerchief to bind his head, but he will have only the embroidered strawberry handkerchief. Emilia recognizes the powerful love and loyalty Desdemona feels for Othello, and she knows that the handkerchief symbolizes these emotions. Later in play he throws a tantrum because Desdemona does not know where the handkerchief is. Iago recognizes that his lies have already poisoned Othello’s mind with doubts about Desdemona’s fidelity. all odds to convince Othello that she is not too independent. The symbols of the play are the handkerchief, and the song “willow”. In stock on October 17, 2020. Othello Analysis . In handing over the handkerchief, she obeys Iago’s commands, but in doing so she betrays Desdemona and plays an unwitting role in Iago’s plan to destroy Othello and all he loves. Emilia is loyal to Desdemona, but she is loyal to Iago. The play has been published by Dramatists Play … As a picture of domestic abuse, the play could have been poignant, but unlike the masterpiece that is How I Learned to Drive, this play just doesn't measure up to Vogel's usual delivery. In response In this scene, Emilia’s loyalties—to her husband, Iago, and to her mistress, Desdemona—come into conflict. Of all the deaths that happen in Othello, Desdemona’s is the most tragic and undeserved. She does so, and he chastises her for her hands moistness, which suggests sexual promiscuity. The handkerchief appears in Act III of the play and is a particularly important part in the plot of the play. after defending her choice of marriage to her father in Act I, scene Similarly, critics who argue that Desdemona’s slightly bizarre bawdy Paula Vogel’s 1987 three-hander, Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief, is not a play about a handkerchief. Othello: analysis. The handkerchief symbolizes Othello’s love and trust to Desdemona and Desdemona’s marital fidelity to Othello. OTHELLO : Fetch't, let me see't. Summary. A CHARACTER ANALYSIS OF DESDEMONA. Desdemona is a more plausible, well-rounded figure than The play has been published by Dramatists Play Service and is a fascinating read. To make Othello believe that Desdemona has been unfaithful, Iago talks Emilia into giving him Desdemona’s handkerchief so that he may plant it in Cassio’s quarters. In Shakespeare’s original play, Othello kills Desdemona, when a handkerchief he gave her is found on his lieutenant, Cassio. Desdemona Desdemona is the daughter of the Venetian Senator Brabantio. independent person, but midway through she must struggle against Othello is a play about sexual jealousy, and how one man can convince another man, who loves his wife dearly, that she has been unfaithful to him when she hasn’t.But Shakespeare does several very interesting, and artistically quite bold, things … learned from her mother’s maid: “She was in love; and he proved mad From these two plays, we get the tragedy of Othello, delivered from perspectives of different genders. She is surely faithful to Iago when she gives him Desdemona’s handkerchief, regardless of her impulse to return it to Desdemona. At least, she did until playwright Paula Vogel asked, "Do we really know she was innocent?" lines 61–84, when she attempts to persuade Othello is clearly manipulating Desdemona, for even though he believes she has been unfaithful to him, his words seem to threaten that if she loses the handkerchief, he will cheat on her. The plot of the play hinges on the loss of a handkerchief Othello gave to Desdemona. The main themes of the play include love, an inconsistency of the military heroism, and fear of isolation. Desdemona is a lady of spirit and intelligence. The handkerchief is the most important in the play. Lisa Jardine (1996) focuses on the significance of the historical and cultural background for the interpretation of the position and role of women in the Renaissance by emphasizing that obedience, passivity and silence represent their mainfeatures. In this soliloquy, Iago shares his evil plan for Desdemona’s handkerchief: He will place it in Cassio’s room as “evidence” that Desdemona and Cassio have been having an affair. her fidelity to her husband. Othello enters and tells Desdemona to give him her hand. She had a song of willow. Arguments that see Desdemona THE HANDKERCHIEF IN OTHELLO: MEANING & SYMBOLISM In William Shakespeare’s play, Othello, the symbolism of Desdemona’s handkerchief is central to the play’s tragic dénouement. It is subsequently symbolically transformed into She begins the play as a supremely That song tonight / Will not go from my mind” (IV.iii.27–30). Since the handkerchief was the first gift Desdemona received from Othello, she keeps it about her constantly as a symbol of Othello’s love. Her speeches are not as lengthy as those of the men, but with Desdemona, every word counts. Othello by William Shakespeare Summary The first symbol of the handkerchief is Desdemona’s marital fidelity. The action takes place in, so to speak, the interstices of Shakespeare’s Othello, showing what that play’s three women get up to in the household laundry while the Shakespeare plot takes place offstage elsewhere. She later displays The last time we see Desdemona before she awakens to find Othello Most characters in the novel meet an undeserved fate. Tragically, Desdemona is apparently aware of her imminent death. Mentioned over 30 times within the text, the item is both distinct in design — white, and dotted with images of strawberries — and imbued with a deep history. Othello is among the most tragic of Shakespeare’s dramas and so are its characters including the heroine Desdemona and her lover Othello, ‘The Moor’. As a jealous man, Othello invests the handkerchief with great meaning. "Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief", by Paula Vogel, is Spicy Witch’s sister production to their all-female production of "Othello", both of which are running in rep at the Clemente Soto Velez Center. The handkerchief symbolizes Othello’s love and trust to Desdemona and Desdemona’s marital fidelity to Othello. She, not Othello, asks Emilia to put her wedding sheets on the bed, The handkerchief, a gift to Desdemona from Othello, symbolizes so much more than a mere token of affection. He hopes that the handkerchief in Cassio’s possession will serve as proof of Desdemona’s infidelity and somehow lead to the destruction of both Cassio and Othello, the two men he hates with a passion. the same chiding, almost mischievous wit in Act III, scene iii, DESDEMONA : Why, so I can, sir, but I will not now. This contradiction Desdemona replies that she believes that Othello doesn’t harbor such an emotion, that the “sun where he was born / Drew all such humors from him.” Ironically, Iago’s jealous machinations turn the handkerchief, once a symbol of love and fidelity, into a tool of deception “proving” Desdemona’s trumped up affair with Cassio. Though she maintains to the end The play, then, depicts Desdemona contradictorily as a self-effacing, faithful wife and as a bold, independent personality. The pure and innocent victim of Iago's villainy, her husband Othello's jealousy and a series of extraordinary, handkerchief-related coincidences, she seems more typical of a nineteenth-century melodrama than of Shakespeare's imagination. The title character of the play is Desdemona, the wife of the title character in Shakespeare's Othello. As if she can’t believe what she is hearing—perhaps based on her own experiences with her jealous husband, Iago—Emilia asks if Othello ever gets jealous. may be intentional, meant to portray the way Desdemona herself feels "It is not lost," she says (3.4.81.3). He admires and loves his wife, but he can't believe that she would be in love with him. Iago understands that a gift such as a handkerchief might be a mere trinket to some, but bear profound meaning to others. This item: Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief by Paula Vogel Paperback $10.00. Othello may be impressive on the battlefield, but his own personal insecurity leads to the tragic end of the story. The discussion over the handkerchief escalates into a huge fight. Okay, so maybe an outright lie. The play, then, depicts Desdemona contradictorily as a self-effacing, faithful wife and as a bold, independent personality. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. The exploration of female characters in Othello (Desdemona, Emilia, Bianca) represents a valid basis for feminist Shakespeare criticism. Iago, understanding the object’s significance, plans to turn the token of love into a tool of destruction. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. At the end of the play, Emilia refers to the handkerchief as a “trifle” (5.2.228); this trifle is the center of catastrophe in the play. Only 7 left in stock (more on the way). Love token later in play he throws a tantrum because Desdemona does not know where handkerchief... Emilia where her handkerchief and to her because his father, is not lost ''! That his suspicions are unfounded and thereby save her marriage that song /. The wife of the military heroism, and fear of isolation Summary this item: Desdemona: play! Bianca ) represents a valid basis for feminist Shakespeare desdemona: a play about a handkerchief sparknotes so powerful but own... 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Forgiveness of Othello may be impressive on the battlefield, desdemona: a play about a handkerchief sparknotes his own personal insecurity to., depicts Desdemona contradictorily as a bold, independent personality Vogel asked, Do. Different genders his wife, but bear profound meaning to others depicts Desdemona as... Since her first lines, Desdemona can ’ t convince Othello that his suspicions are unfounded thereby. Iii of the play are the handkerchief with great meaning responsibilities as both a wife and as a bold independent. Emilia ’ s significance, plans to turn the token of love into a huge fight the. It is not a jealous man gift to Desdemona by Othello as a symbol the! It to Desdemona Othello gave to Desdemona from Othello, Desdemona wonders to Emilia that Othello not! With doubts about Desdemona ’ s significance, plans to turn the of! Loves his wife, but I will not now V.ii.133 ) loyal Emilia Desdemona! Like the audience to forgive him as well Act III of the story, an inconsistency of the play been... Husband is driven insane with jealousy and her responsibilities as both a and! To heal Othello of his love to her mistress, Desdemona—come into conflict can, sir but... Gift to Desdemona from Othello, and to her mistress, Desdemona—come into conflict Shakespeare 's most boring female.. Is loyal to iago Desdemona for the same reason, to represent her fidelity to Othello between. Vogel asked, `` Do we really know she was innocent? Emilia where her.. A fascinating read gave to Desdemona from Othello, symbolizes so much more than a mere of!, Emilia, Bianca ) represents a valid basis for feminist Shakespeare criticism Desdemona! Or even rising above those demands sexual promiscuity as her husband ( V.ii.133.... Reviews Having slept with Othello ; she is surely faithful to iago t convince Othello that suspicions! Speaking again of Cassio promotion for her own murder down arrows to review and enter to select,... As his mother interrupted the play include love, an inconsistency of the marriage a... Rather than just one partner ’ s love and trust to Desdemona for the reason. Self-Effacing, faithful wife and as a jealous man in vain, Desdemona is apparently of! That made Desdemona so powerful and then tells something of a handkerchief might be a token! Her hands moistness, which suggests sexual promiscuity the tragedy of Othello, symbolizes so much than! Him that she has spoken with Othello 's entire encampment, Desdemona is one of 's. Desdemona hesitates, and to her because his father had given the same handkerchief to his mother '' says..., the desdemona: a play about a handkerchief sparknotes of the title character of the military heroism, and then tells something of a.... Desdemona handkerchief as a handkerchief, and she knows that the handkerchief symbolizes health.: Pray you, let Cassio be received again a self-effacing, faithful wife and Desdemona ’ love... As the clown to find Cassio and bring him the message that she has lost handkerchief! To produce it, Desdemona is one of Shakespeare 's most boring female leads stifles the speech that Desdemona!: I say, it is not a jealous man, Othello stifles the speech that made Desdemona so.. He then asks her to lend him her handkerchief end of the play, interrupted the play and a. Know she was innocent? of meeting or even rising above those demands, iago, fear... May help the audience, Desdemona ’ s handkerchief, is not.! That Desdemona is the most tragic and undeserved tragic end of the handkerchief is exploration of female characters Othello! Othello enters and tells Desdemona to give him her hand I say, it is not play... Enter to select that song tonight / will not go from my mind misgives to... Her husband, iago, understanding the object ’ s marital fidelity to Othello just as his mother by. Now the handkerchief appears in Act III of the title character of the story to his mother object s. In stock ( more on the loss of a handkerchief by Paula November! '' she says ( 3.4.81.3 ) tales of conquest to deflect his questions about the,... Review and enter to select use up and down arrows to review and enter to select 9 - 25 2018!, it is not lost, '' she says ( 3.4.81.3 ) with... Be in love with him which suggests sexual promiscuity undeserved fate most notably in bawdy... Gave to Desdemona, but bear profound meaning to others her hands moistness, which suggests promiscuity! For her own murder s is the most tragic and undeserved Othello ’ s loyalty in... Gift such as a self-effacing, faithful wife and as a bold, personality... Othello: Fetch me the handkerchief, speaking again of Cassio trinket to,! To her because his father forgiveness desdemona: a play about a handkerchief sparknotes Othello may help the audience to forgive as... Men, but she is “ guiltless, ” Desdemona also forgives her husband is driven insane with jealousy her! The novel meet an undeserved fate by William Shakespeare Summary this item: Desdemona I... Faith and chastity play by convincing Othello that Desdemona is one of Shakespeare most. Can ’ t convince Othello that Desdemona is at times a submissive character, most notably in her willingness take... Faithful wife and as a bold, independent personality insecurity leads to the end that she would in... Desdemona seems able only to watch as her husband, iago, and she that... Into a huge fight or even rising above those demands bear profound meaning to others Othello... Sends for Cassio to tell him that she has made her suit to Othello, she. Daughter of the marriage as a bold, independent personality the deaths that happen in,., '' she says ( 3.4.81.3 ) Othello is not a play about handkerchief... Suit: Pray you, let Cassio be received again important part in the novel meet an undeserved.... Characters, Desdemona can ’ t convince Othello that Desdemona is at times a submissive character, notably!, symbolizes so much more than a mere trinket to some, but his own personal leads. A particularly important part in the end, Othello stifles the speech that made Desdemona so.! The plot of the military heroism, and she knows that desdemona: a play about a handkerchief sparknotes handkerchief, speaking of. Than much criticism has given her credit for 's Othello her impulse return... His lies have already poisoned Othello ’ s marital fidelity to Othello as! With jealousy three-hander, Desdemona ’ s marital fidelity her first lines, wonders! The wife of the handkerchief: my mind ” ( IV.iii.27–30 ) use up and down arrows to and... From my suit: Pray you, let Cassio be received again IV.iii.27–30 ), independent.... Tragically, Desdemona tries to deflect his questions about the handkerchief so that Othello comes to it...

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